4 Things You Should Ask an Employee Who’s Leaving

Exit Interview Questions

A few months ago, one of my employees decided to leave the company. Her exit wasn’t a total surprise—we’d hired her originally as an intern, and we all knew her heart and her passion resided in the nonprofit realm. I tried to convince her that our business—employee engagement consulting—was saving the world in a different way, but alas, she wasn’t buying it.

We’re a relatively small organization, and life gets busy. On her last day, I was in client meetings and didn’t really get a chance to say a proper goodbye. I didn’t do an exit interview with her, either. (And I know what you’re thinking, by the way—so just do what I say and not what I do, OK?)

I’ve thought about her a lot over the last couple of months. I miss her presence in our office, but truthfully, I think she made the right decision. I’m a big believer in following your passion and purpose in life, and my guess is she will ultimately be much happier in a job that better fits with her life goals.

I wouldn’t have tried to talk her out of her decision, but there are a few questions I would have asked her if I had the chance to do it over again. (For the record, these are my questions as a leader and manager, not necessarily from a legal or HR standpoint. Google is your friend if you want loads of suggestions on that front.)

How did the job match your expectations?

Our own research at Brilliant Ink tells us that creating accurate first impressions is a key driver of employee engagement, so one of the first things I’d want to know is how the day-to-day realities of the job stacked up to our description of it when she began work with us. This doesn’t necessarily change the nature of the work in the future, but it would certainly help us know how to sell the job more effectively and accurately to result in better hires (which, in my opinion, is the toughest nut of all to crack).

Did you feel that the work you were doing aligned with your personal goals and interests?

We do a goal-setting process with our employees at the beginning of the year, and we revisit these on a quarterly basis. However, these are mostly professional development goals that tie directly to our business objectives. With this question, I’d be assessing how her work fits into the bigger picture of her life—something Millennials say is more and more important to them. And our research indicates that fully engaged employees report a greater likelihood of tapping into personal and professional passions and interests at work compared to less-engaged employees.

In this case of this particular employee, I already knew the answer—she had a passion for environmental work and causes, which doesn’t really relate to our field. And I wouldn’t necessarily change the nature of the work accordingly. But again, it gives clues into the kinds of questions we should be asking at the start of the hiring process and could guide conversations between managers and employees throughout their life with our company.

Did you have the tools and resources you needed to effectively do your job?

This is a big one. In the early years of the company, I got pretty comfortable with bootstrapping my way to success, which means we still operate pretty lean and mean. This is a good thing in terms of conserving costs, but we also have to remember that we can’t deliver outstanding work without the right systems in place to make the magic happen. Understanding how my employee felt about the kind of support she was getting would help us know what kinds of investments we should be making in the future.

Would you recommend this as a great place for a friend to work?

Would I get an truthful answer to this question? I honestly don’t know, but it’s worth a shot. The employee in question was a good, solid member of our team, and I’d trust her recommendation on future hires. If the job wasn’t a great fit for her, the next best thing I could hope is that she’d be an advocate for our company and a referrer of great potential employees. Plus, with the business that we’re in, it pays to know how we can improve our own employee experience.

Here’s a final exit interview question I don’t recommend: During a wrap-up interview, I once had a former boss ask me if there was anything she could do to change my mind. I enjoyed the job but was incredibly underpaid, so I felt a faint glimmer when she asked me this question. I told her a nominal raise would do the trick. Unfortunately, she promptly replied that it wasn’t possible. The lesson: Don’t offer something you can’t deliver. There’s nothing worse than getting your hopes up—only to have them doused with ice water.

We have an amazing team in place, and I hope I won’t be saying goodbye to anyone else for a very long time. But if we do, I’ll make the time for a proper goodbye—and a solid exit interview that will hopefully not only yield valuable insights, but that will leave everyone feeling good about our experience working together.

https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-things-you-should-ask-an-employee-whos-leaving

 

ARE YOU IN NEED OF TOP TALENT NOW? Don’t have the time to spend nor available bandwidth to look for your company’s perfect match? Does this leave you with projects undone, unable to launch new initiatives or deliver desired output, let alone to grow your profits? Is your hiring process stalled and limping along with unfilled requisitions? Discover the ease and satisfaction of partnering with experts whose ONLY mission is to accomplish laser-focused search and to acquire top-tier skill on your behalf, each and every day! Contact us at 415-234-0707 ext. 5 or email at connect@superiansources.com Find out what a customized service SAVES you in TIME, MONEY and RESOURCES!

 

ARE YOU TODAY’S TOP TALENT LOOKING FOR A NEW ROLE? Do you want assurance that you are represented by the best and have opportunities open to you within exceptional workplaces? Have you heard that being presented by a boutique search firm is the edge you need to get in the door and have your opportunity to shine? Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at connect@superiansources.com – http://www.SuperianSources.com

 

Advertisements

5 Steps to Landing Your Dream Job When You’re Way Too Qualified for it on Paper

How to Get a Job When You're Overqualifed

https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-steps-to-landing-your-dream-job-when-youre-way-too-qualified-for-it-on-paper

ARE YOU IN NEED OF TOP TALENT NOW? Don’t have the time to spend nor available bandwidth to look for your company’s perfect match? Does this leave you with projects undone, unable to launch new initiatives or deliver desired output, let alone to grow your profits? Is your hiring process stalled and limping along with unfilled requisitions? Discover the ease and satisfaction of partnering with experts whose ONLY mission is to accomplish laser-focused search and to acquire top-tier skill on your behalf, each and every day! Contact us at 415-234-0707 ext. 5 or email at connect@superiansources.com Find out what a customized service SAVES you in TIME, MONEY and RESOURCES!

 

ARE YOU TODAY’S TOP TALENT LOOKING FOR A NEW ROLE? Do you want assurance that you are represented by the best and have opportunities open to you within exceptional workplaces? Have you heard that being presented by a boutique search firm is the edge you need to get in the door and have your opportunity to shine? Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at connect@superiansources.com – http://www.SuperianSources.com

 

4 Secrets to Taking Career Risks—While Still Paying Your Rent

tm-pilbox.global.ssl.fastly.net.jpg

“Take more risks!” is a common refrain these days. People of all ages are encouraged by their peers and employers alike to keep from staying stagnant—to mix it up, to try new things!—all in the name of spurring innovation, finding your passion, and making big things happen for your career.

Risk-taking is encouraged. But so is loyalty, building your brand and reputation by doing your job well, and—of course—paying your bills. How are you supposed to take risks then, while also ensuring you don’t put yourself in career or financial ruin?

“You have to manage those risks,” says Rachel Kim, Career Strategist and Coach at leading online lender and modern finance company SoFi. “But we do think the career trend is moving toward people taking their own risks, before they risk losing their job in an unstable market.”

There are a lot of reasons why people don’t experiment more when it comes to their livelihood, but most of them stem from fear: fear of failure, fear of criticism, fear of the unknown. But there’s another side of the coin, too—the potential for opportunity to learn and grow by taking risks. Knowing that, it’s time to get uncomfortable, get out of your comfort zone, and push aside your fear to bet on actually reaping massive reward.

You’ve probably heard a few common ideas for mixing things up, like starting a side hustle or taking a few online classes—and those are great ways to take the first steps toward your career goals without putting too much on the line.

But what else is there? Quite a bit, actually! Here are a few ways to make those big risks feel infinitely more doable.

1. Network for New Opportunities Under Your Nose

Transferring departments, relocating to another city (or country!), or telecommuting once a week—there are myriad opportunities for changing it up right where you work. And the inherent risks in those big changes, whether you’re gunning for the new gig in marketing or gearing up to pitch your boss on working remotely, can be softened by the relationships you already have in place.

“From day one, we recommend the simplest steps at work: Smile and introduce yourself to everybody,” says Kim. “Get to know other people and what they do, but also understand who they are as people. Build bridges so that you can get intel on new opportunities, build advocates to support transitions, ask to shadow a project, and so on.”

And if you don’t yet have good inter-office relationships? Start now. Use technology to your advantage—connect with colleagues on LinkedIn, and start conversations based on their background and interests. Open up about who you are and what you’re interested in, but also be creative about how you can support the people around you.

Once you do, you’ll likely find that you’re privy not just to new opportunities, but also to useful advice and feedback that will support and encourage you as you take risks in your work—at your current company even in your current role and throughout your professional career.

2. Design the Job You Want

Or, in other words, take the risk of trying out something new at the place that already sends you that steady paycheck. Start by asking: What does my company want? And then: How can I use my strengths and interests to fill that need?

This is an entrepreneurial skill that most companies love. You are solving a problem and aligning your work with your skills and passions. It’s a win-win for you and your employer!

While it’s fairly simple to figure out where your company needs more support, it’s not always easy to figure exactly what you want. In instances like this, Kim recommends trying to write a personal mission statement, or—better yet—turning to the support of an unbiased party, like a career coach.

“A really good coach asks good questions to help you think through who you are, what your strengths are, and what you want,” she explains. “A great coach sees beyond what you can see, and they’ll coach you so you can really believe that about yourself as well. They help you make external and internal connections—between how you see yourself and what your possibilities are.”

For this reason, SoFi offers career strategy and coaching services to its members, guiding them toward the opportunities that advance both their passion and their professional viability. Whether you work with a coach or not, once you’re clear on the work you can do in the world, you can connect that to the needs of your company and design a position that suits you both.

Once you’ve figured this out, craft a pitch to your manager that highlights the benefits of this new role for you and for the company. Emphasize your commitment to your work and the company’s growth, and outline specific ways this new role could solve a problem or boost the bottom line.

At the end of the day, what’s the worst they can say? Thanks, but no thanks? You’ll still be that much clearer on the work you want to do—and perhaps ready to risk doing that work elsewhere!

3. Skip the Staycation; Try a “Shadowcation” Instead

Shadowing someone is another great way to try on a different career without having to leave your current job. It gives you realistic insight into what it’s really like to do the job—you may find it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be, once you’ve (literally) walked a few miles in those new career shoes. And shadowing someone in a new position or a different career will help you expand your network, connecting you to people who are already doing the work you want to pursue.

Start by soliciting shadowing opportunities as you would job opportunities: Turn to your network or research and connect with people you admire in the industry you’re interested in. Send emails to the appropriate contacts indicating who you are, what your background is, why you’d love to shadow them, and when. Let them know that you are open to whenever works best for them, and are happy to work around their schedule.

Then, clear your schedule. Use a few personal days to “shadowcation” instead of “staycation”-ing, ensuring that your manager and your co-workers will know you’re offline and unavailable.

Much like with a job interview, do your research before you show up, learning about the industry, the company, and the person you’ll be shadowing. Come prepared with specific questions you have about each, but make sure you’re not asking questions you could easily answer yourself with a little bit of Googling. And instead of just following them around all day (or week), offer to help out! Ask for specific assignments you can complete and meetings you might be able to sit in on.

Finally, spend some time at the end of your shadowcation reviewing your experience with the person you shadowed, reviewing any follow-up questions and asking for feedback on your own performance. Of course, don’t forget to send a note or a small gift of thanks, and stay in touch with your contact! This might be the start to a new professional relationship.

4. Weigh the Costs

“Following your passion is important, but so is taking care of your responsibilities,” says Kim. “At SoFi, we want people to feel like they’re taking a ‘good’ risk.”

The best way to feel comfortable with the risk you’re taking is to calculate just how risky it is—and to make a plan to manage that risk. What will it actually cost you? If you’re thinking about changing careers, for instance, consider: What’s my projected income if I stay? What’s my projected income if I switch? Or maybe you think you need to quit your job to find your passion. Think through: How many months do I think I would need to take off (and how many would I in the worst-case scenario)? How much of my savings would that require dipping into?

SoFi currently has a “Return on Education” tool that helps members calculate the financial return of their degree, and the team is also working on a salary tool, based on the plethora of degree-, location-, and industry-focused salary information in their proprietary database. Additionally, Kim says that she and the other career coaches at SoFi always recommend adding a recruiter to your network as an unbiased party who will help you understand the financial implications of a given move. “They’ll give you the real numbers,” she shared.

But there is also, perhaps, an even more important number than money to consider when planning for a career risk: what’s your “ROR” or “Return On Risk”?

“There’s so much more to consider than salary,” says Kim. “More often, people take career risks to find more happiness and meaning, not more money. Remember what you’re giving up if you don’t take this risk—why did you consider it in the first place? Even if you failed, what do you gain? If you don’t even take the risk, what have you lost? That’s the real cost.”

By planning ahead, crunching these numbers, and reflecting on your ROR now, you will actually have an answer to “What’s the worst that could happen?” and can make a plan to overcome or prepare for it, like saving money to lower the risk and lessen your fear. You’ll also have a clearer understanding of “What’s the BEST that could happen?”—giving you more motivation to push through the risk. Whatever you do, it won’t seem quite as risky when you have planned ahead.

“At the end of the day, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” says Kim. “Sometimes you just have to start and then you’ll figure it out.”

Sure, there’s a chance your risk-taking won’t pay off, but if you approach it with careful consideration and planning, and if you believe in your ability to succeed at something new, you’ll likely see greater professional rewards than you ever thought possible.

 

https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-secrets-to-taking-career-riskswhile-still-paying-your-rent

 

ABOUT SUPERIAN SOURCES

Superian Sources has more than 30 years of combined resources and candidate sourcing/placement expertise. We utilize our extensive networks in our drive to match the right talent with open opportunities. We design successful partnerships, placing the right candidates with the right assets into the body of growing and dynamic organizations in Accounting/Finance, Sales and Marketing, IT, HR, Administrative Support, Engineering, and Executive and Senior Management.

Please contact Superian Sources to learn more about how we can help you hire right the first time. Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at connect@superiansources.com.

http://www.SuperianSources.com

5 Business Skills That Everyone Needs to Succeed—and How You Can Learn Them

tm-pilbox.global.ssl.fastly.net

It seems like every day I come across something new I want to learn. Coding? Yes please. Search engine optimization? Sounds handy. Graphic design? Let’s go!

But of course, there’s simply not enough time in the day to learn it all—which means I have to zero in on the skills that will be most beneficial to my career.

To learn what those skills would be—and not just for me, but for anyone who’s eager for a career boost but doesn’t know what to focus on—I talked to students and professors from the University of Virginia’s McIntire Business Institute, which offers an online certificate program as well as an in-person summer program that gives non-business students, graduates, and professionals the opportunity to learn these critical skills to increase their career potential. They shared the five business skills that everyone (yes, everyone) needs to succeed, and we weighed in on how anyone (yes, anyone) can learn them. Let our education begin.

1. Great Communication Skills

According to Bloomberg’s 2015 Job Skills report, most employers are looking for candidates with strong communication abilities—after all, whether you’re spending your time talking to clients, co-workers, or company partners, your effectiveness hinges on being clear, concise, and persuasive.

It turns out, though, folks with that skill are relatively hard to come by.

For that reason, UVA’s MBI program puts a strong emphasis on communication styles and strategies. “We use group work, discussions of why and how to communicate well in teams, and sessions on public speaking to provide supportive opportunities for peer feedback on individual’s presenting styles,” says Marcia L. Pentz, who teaches management communication at the UVA McIntire School of Commerce.

Of course, communication can mean a lot of things, so if you’re looking to improve your own skills, you’ll need to first be real about where your biggest weaknesses lie. Are you great at crafting difficult emails, but panicked before a big presentation? Kathryn Minshew, CEO of The Muse and star public speaker, suggests practicing by copying TED talks or forcing yourself to talk to strangers more often. Or maybe heading up meetings is your jam, but you’re less comfortable with casual networking. Try approaching these interactions a little differently or throwing some new conversation starters into the mix. Whether you’re not so great at writing, you don’t feel like you’re very persuasive, or anything in between, challenge yourself to work on one thing at a time to improve your professional communication.

2. Leadership Abilities

You might assume that having strong leadership skills only becomes important when you start managing people, but this is important to your success even when you’re the most junior person on the team. Every time a group of people come together, they need to choose what to do and when—so if you understand how to unify the group and make decisions happen quickly and without conflict, you’ll be incredibly valuable.

Sometimes, this may mean not getting your way.

As MBI student Eliza Currin explains, “Leadership usually means making compromises. Not everyone is going to agree on everything, and so you need to come up with a way to make sure everyone’s voice is heard while also making a cohesive plan.” A strong leader also knows when to delegate. MBI student Jacqueline Lomboy says it’s crucial to be “vulnerable,” or in other words, place trust and responsibility in your co-workers rather than attempting to tackle everything by yourself.

If all of this sounds a little foreign to you, don’t fret—there are plenty of real ways to improve your leadership abilities even if you’re not in a position of power—or even to be seen as a respected leader in the next 30 seconds! If you want to go a little deeper, look into online courses and certificate programs like UVA’s McIntire Business Institute program where you can learn from the greats.

3. An Understanding of Marketing

It doesn’t matter what profession or industry you belong to—at the end of the day, your success depends on the customer. That’s why it’s essential to understand why people make the decisions they do and how you can use this knowledge to your company’s advantage. “Marketing is important because it’s how a business communicates the value of its products or services to potential customers,” explains Mark White, the Director of the McIntire Business Institute as well as a professor at the school.

For example, say you’re a salesperson. Having a bit of marketing knowledge will help you figure out which types of customers will be most interested in your product. Even better, you can develop a different strategy for each type, tailoring your message and price to their individual needs.

Even if your role isn’t so closely tied to marketing, it’s important to know how the process works. “Keeping your job requires you execute your specific assignment well, of course,” says MBI professor Jeremy Marcel, “but advancement and promotion usually requires a deeper appreciation of why we’ve organized work the way we have, and how we can improve the organization to help it compete more effectively in the future.”

If you want to know more about the topic but don’t know where to start, ask a co-worker in the marketing department to grab coffee, pick up some tried-and-true marketing books in your free time, or look into online courses where you can learn the ropes and get some credentials to put on your resume.

4. Financial Know-How

I recently applied for a job at a startup, and after it became clear the team was going to offer me a job, I asked a ton of questions about their financials. Before I became employee number 11, I wanted to make sure they were bringing in a healthy amount of revenue, growing at a good rate, and keeping their expenses in check.

And in today’s business climate, this is a good idea even if you’re joining a more established company. “Understanding the basics of accounting is important to everyone,” says MBI professor Brad Brown. “You have to understand what financial measures say about a business.”

“Gaining this basic grounding in finance helped me learn how to speak the language of business and understand what is happening to companies in the current economy,” adds MBI student Kellie Smith, who says the program taught her key concepts like “the time value of money, company valuation in the stock market, and investing strategies.”

As a bonus, this knowledge can also translate into your non-work life. Currin shares that she’s used her new knowledge of Excel and finance to create a personal budget that’ll help her make the most of her money.

While there are plenty of books and online resources that can get you up to speed here, if finance feels especially intimidating to you, consider looking into accredited certificate programs like UVA’s McIntire Business Institute where you can really learn the ins and outs that you need to use these skills in the workplace. And if you’re just looking to dip your toes in the water, try following some experts on Twitter or actually reading the finance section of your favorite news source.

5. A Knack for Teamwork

You may be thinking this is something you already know how to do, but working on a team is a skill that you can and should be learning and improving upon—for your entire career.

Many MBI students were surprised to find how much their teamwork abilities were lacking when they started the program. “Coming from a primarily science-course load background, much of my education has been independent,” explains Lomboy of her time in the Institute’s summer program. “MBI’s student collaboration in the classroom and in the student presentations taught me the benefits from working collectively with other students and showed me how to work efficiently in a group setting.”

If you’re looking for ways to be a better team player, start with your listening skills. “There is an art to learning when to listen and when to speak up,” shares Smith. Lomboy adds, “I found it most important for one must be able to listen to others with an open mind to their sometimes opposing views and place trust in their abilities.” If you think this might be your challenge, implement some of these tips to become a better listener this week.

Navigating the different personalities in a group—including your own—is also critical. “It’s important to understand everyone’s strengths and weaknesses so you can leverage what people are good at while balancing out those areas where they need to improve,” explains Smith. “This came into play during our final case study presentation, when I was able to embrace my own organizational abilities in order to free up my teammates for their strengths in creativity and vision.” Consider having everyone on your team take a personality quiz, then discuss the results to learn how to work better together.

Finally, just making an effort to get closer to your team can keep people excited and engaged. “[It] ended up being incredibly important for team morale when we were up late working on our project. I have carried this idea of team spirit into other teams I have been on since, and have found it very effective!” shares Currin. Try some of these ideas for bonding with your co-workers if you think this is holding you back.

While there are plenty of ways to learn in your day-to-day job, if you’re really ready to invest in your personal growth, look into a program like UVA’s McIntire Business Institute, which can give you the focus you need to develop these skills.

But no matter what you do, growing in these five areas will help you build relationships, think strategically about your company as a whole, and be seen as a leader among your co-workers. All in all, that’s a recipe for getting ahead.

https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-business-skills-that-everyone-needs-to-succeedand-how-you-can-learn-them

ABOUT SUPERIAN SOURCES

Superian Sources has more than 30 years of combined resources and candidate sourcing/placement expertise. We utilize our extensive networks in our drive to match the right talent with open opportunities. We design successful partnerships, placing the right candidates with the right assets into the body of growing and dynamic organizations in Accounting/Finance, Sales and Marketing, IT, HR, Administrative Support, Engineering, and Executive and Senior Management.

Please contact Superian Sources to learn more about how we can help you hire right the first time. Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at connect@superiansources.com.

http://www.SuperianSources.com

 

What People Who Love Sitting Should Know About Using a Standing Desk

tm-pilbox.global.ssl.fastly.net

You should see me on the subway: I stake out seating like it’s my part-time job. I may have been sitting all day at work, but, boy, when I board that train for my 40-minute commute, I do everything I can to grab a spot that lets me put my bag and butt down.

So when I started reading about the standing desk phenomenon a couple of years ago, you can imagine my lack of excitement. The thought of standing on purpose seemed crazy to me. Why would one do that? And this is coming from a pretty active person who runs about 30 miles a week.

But, in spite of my skepticism with the standing desk, I have read all those scary articles about sitting being the new smoking. So when Ergotron offered our company the chance to try out its adjustable model for free, I didn’t say no. Neither did a lot of my colleagues. While many of us went into it with a side eye, most of us ended the experience on a more positive note.

Here’s what we found:

1. The Standing Desk Is Best for Certain Tasks

Although a couple of participants reported that they could do “anything” while using the desk, most everyone mentioned emails as being a popular to-do. Bigger, meatier tasks such as preparing a long presentation or crunching numbers weren’t projects that the standing desk necessarily lent itself to easily.

2. The Standing Desk Helps With Those Sitting-All-Day Physical Issues

Back pain, tired, achy legs, crunched shoulders: These were all issues that users agreed the standing desk alleviated. “It helped my back to not be sitting all day long,” one of my co-workers reported, which, to long-time proponents of the standing desk, should come as no surprise.

3. The Standing Desk Really Does Combat Energy Lulls

Since most of us were only testing out the desk for a couple of hours at a time, it was interesting to note that simply standing up combatted energy lulls. In fact, one of my co-workers stated that “it was a huge productivity booster in the afternoons” when she was likely to become “sluggish and brain dead.”

All in all, the standing desk got positive reviews. While my office may only have about one or two die-hard, want-to-use-it-exclusively standing-desk folks, the majority of us who tried it agreed that it was a nice way to mix things up throughout the day.

Of course, if you don’t have a standing desk or something you can turn into a makeshift one, you might just try changing your environment. Does your office have a lounge area where people can do work? What about a space with a round table and chairs? An empty desk in a spot in the office you don’t know well?

Often, a change of scenery can be enough of an impetus to get motivated. If taking a laptop with you outside or to the office’s couch area isn’t an option, you can try asking your boss to spring for a standing desk of your own. While the model we tested ran on the expensive end of things (~$800), there are certainly more budget-friendly options out there.

Comfortable employees are productive employees, right?

https://www.themuse.com/advice/what-people-who-love-sitting-should-know-about-using-a-standing-desk

ABOUT SUPERIAN SOURCES

Superian Sources has more than 30 years of combined resources and candidate sourcing/placement expertise. We utilize our extensive networks in our drive to match the right talent with open opportunities. We design successful partnerships, placing the right candidates with the right assets into the body of growing and dynamic organizations in Accounting/Finance, Sales and Marketing, IT, HR, Administrative Support, Engineering, and Executive and Senior Management.

Please contact Superian Sources to learn more about how we can help you hire right the first time. Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at connect@superiansources.com.

http://www.SuperianSources.com